Joy-riding vandals drive stolen van through Lawnswood Cemetery in Leeds in trail of destruction

Mindless vandals have stolen a van and driven it through a historic Leeds cemetery - destroying the entrance gates and causing significant damage.

The incident comes only months after Lawnswood Cemetery's books of remembrance were desecrated during a break-in at the site in April.

Priceless books of remembrance destroyed during vandalism spree at Lawnswood CemeteryThe criminals stole a van belonging to Leeds City Council last weekend and entered the graveyard. They drove the vehicle through the locked gates onto Otley Road to leave.

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Later in the week a disused office inside the cemetery was broken into and vandalised.

A statement from the chair of the Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery read:

"It is with disbelief and great sadness that we are letting people know that once again Lawnswood Cemetery has been targeted with mindless vandalism. On the weekend of 18/19 August thieves stole van keys and then a council van which they then drove recklessly through the cemetery, breaking out through the locked gates onto Otley Road, causing significant damage. The van was later found but as yet nobody has been caught. Then on the night of 21 August the old disused office was broken into and vandalised.

"This is not only wanton vandalism, it shows such disrespect for the cemetery and all it means to the people of Leeds and beyond who have relatives and friends buried, cremated or remembered there. It is hard to put into words how devastating this is: even more so in the wake of the earlier vandalism of the Books of Remembrance back in April.

"It is impossible to understand why the cemetery is suddenly being targeted in this way. Please be vigilant when visiting and report any suspicious behaviour to the police."